As I drove down the OR 99 heading into the city of lights, an image of the moon was bobbing in an out of the runway of maple trees. When I reach the end of the corridor, the city of lights greeted me and above it, a half moon. It was one of those rustic moons, the kind that softens its glow with a hint of autumn orange. A half moon, I reflected on the small talk starter line “Is it half full or half empty?” How many times have we abused this statement, when there is no permanent answer. Its all relative to the situation. That night I couldn’t arrive at either conclusion.
And then it occurred to me, the moon was always full, but half of it was being sheltered in the shadow. This was proper ground for my thoughts to walk about. How many sides of my ‘self’ were being hidden in the shadows of this world impending light. So many lights pointed at me in all directions telling me to be better, to do more, and act in a certain way. I suppose that’s what stage fright feels like. Feeling the heat, the pressure, of these massive beams of light all preaching “Now!” And where do the shadows go? What if my shadow were lost like Peter Pan’s? Why do we rarely look into the shadow for answers, why the light? I find the light blinding at times. The shadow hold all the truth I forgot about, like movement, stillness, perspective, and wholeness.
But the shadow work hand in hand with the light. Without the light, where would our shadows be? Lost in the darkness. So I began to think about this half moon some more. The light rotates on this moon, and no matter how hard we try there will always be a dark side of the moon, even as it appear “full.” This is the nature of a 3 dimensional world with relationships that exist between two planes not through it. If I could see into the moon I might see it from the inside out; light and dark together.
This disturbed me, it was the retreat to a binary view that divides so much of this life. Every time I think a thought, there is one opposing it and thus the anxiety builds. Walls have two sides to them and it divides us. Just like politics do. If you do not believe one thing then you are another by default. We all know this is not accurate and certainly not so simple, yet we operate this way. We see this earth just like we see the moon. We focus where the light is, and see the dark as another side to the equation rather than part of it. The phases of the moon will prove this wrong, but we still focus on where the spot light is pointed and forget this idea of how “full” it is. How full we are. And just like the moon, no matter how “full” we appear, there will always be the other side of the moon unseen, but also a part of the experience.
As you can see, I spent a good amount of time meditating on the metaphor of this half moon. I think because so much of this world feels partial… divided… misunderstood… defined… and sided.
There are war torn countries all over this world, we might as well be one since we are so self destructive and we chose to show the light on this self hatred this anger and fear and all of our love seems to only exist in the shadows now. I see images of riots and hear words of hate, point fingers at others, burning bridges so that we become separate. The human race is so divided in its selfish ways. The earth must look like to moon to other planets. The holiday season has now become the season I fear most. It’s the time of chaos, jealousy, greed, poor, emptiness, eagerness, victimization, and loss. We take this time to identify what we do and don’t have, we take this time to get mad at others or ourselves and we let the blame take over. At least, that is what the light is telling me. Every year this side of the earth is growing and the light shines brighter on these experiences.
I recently flew from Portland OR to Oakland CA and drove through San Francisco. I think travel is the most humanizing experience. You stand in line with people all over the world, speaking all different languages, and you feel so many different emotions around you, witness so many different livelihoods, families, culture. For those who had a flight delayed you will understand what I am talking about because you had time to soak all of this in. You can sit and watch the lives around you come together and weave amongst each other. You can sense the competition for seats, the tired parents, and the overwhelmed elderly. You can feel the sadness of those parting and the joy of those on the way to reunite with others or take a leap of faith into the unknown. You can see the humble and the vain, you can feel the calm and the misguided. But, there is something about flying that unites us all.
Every time I sit on a plane and listen to the flight attendant tell me the instructions for how to survive a crash, I look around and soak in the population. It reminds me of the reality I am in. It’s a small sample of the human race, but its usually more accurate than what I see on TV. We are not divided anymore, we are sprinked about a compact plane and obey the curtsey of others.
When I left Portland I saw the riots all over the television screen. Michael Brown’s death and trial post death has been received and many have taken to the riot response. I see buildings burning, men and women holding guns with anger. When I arrive in Oakland, I hear news that the riots are persisting. We drive through San Francisco in traffic and I am praying we make it to the other side of the bridge. I want to see my family and to feel safe on the inside of the walls that hold up my childhood home.
We make it and the next day, the angry meet the greedy. The riots are overtaken with a stampede of Black Friday gazelles, leaping over one another. The angry are hungry and its almost like the hunt is over. The kill has come to them. More crowded images of hate, greed, and pain flashes on the television with commercials in between asking for donation to support our troops. A different organization on every commercial talking about the trauma and the destruction war has laid upon the returning troops.
Facebook starts with heads such as “To My White Friends:” and “What Whites will never know about Blacks” and “Riots Persist” and the comments flood the internet. These headlines divide us and we accept the offer. We comment our hearts out.
The news is no longer news, it hasn’t been for a long time. It’s a running feed of opinion editorials for the public to latch onto and take part in. Its not something the nation watches at 5 o clock anymore to reflect on and absorb throughout the day. Its 24 hours now and its opinions pulling you one way an another. We are straddling the line that says you are on the dark side of the moon now, or you are on the light. And because of this, we don’t have time to remember the fullness that exists, we don’t have time to let our own truths, our own innate nature to care for another, to do good together make its way to the surface. It like someone has cut off our shadows and we have stepped into the world of the media light and our shadows are holding each other in the dark. There’s got to be a way to stich them all back together.
I think we should all cash in our wedding rings for thimbles. Marriage is no longer something I can rely on to see a brighter future. It’s a divided concept now and its ruining us. If we all picked up a needle and began stitch ourselves back together, we might see devotion, love, and respect for us all. In sickness and in health, I hope we will all be there for one another. But I guess that depends on the light, its always depended on the light, unless we can somehow be reminded of the truth that lies in the shadows and the reality of the wholeness that exists.